For this project we were tasked with improving the studio space. How we were to design the “studio of the future” was left open-ended.
In this rough storyboard our user enters studio. There are three people in studio already, one standing in front of the fan in order to stay cool.
The user sits down at their desk to begin work.
However, after a short amount of time the user becomes sleepy and takes a quick nap on their desk. While the user is sleeping the rest of the students leave the studio.
Since the user was relatively motionless in their chair when sleeping, SmartThings didn’t detect any motion and turned off the lights. The fan has also been turned off.
The door, originally left open, was shut and locked automatically after 30 minutes after SmartThings didn’t detect any motion.
After the first crit I decided to go beyond my first iteration and looked through many different changes I could make to studio that I found interesting. Most were about saving energy and didn’t even use any technology.
I concluded that the two best ways to reduce energy use in the studio was through the lights and heating. I believe these would have the largest “pay-off” in energy saved.
One of the challenges I faced was conflicting information towards how the human body lost heat.
My idea for the heating involved shutting off the heating of the overall room entirely, instead catering to each individuals need in the studio. This would save energy as only those present would use enough heat for themselves.
Here the user has sat down to work the camera has just finished calibrating. Once the camera calibrates, the fan heater follows the user’s head movement as people will probably take off any scarf or mask that would cover their face. Since that part of their skin is exposed, it will lose heat.
The camera adjusts the heat of the fan by detecting shivers (involuntary movements by humans to stay warm) of the user. This will prevent excessive heating.
The camera detected movement and thus the heat fan adjusted.
Since the forearms and hands of people may be uncovered in the wintertime even while indoors, body heat would be lost from there. In order to only selectively heat those uncovered body parts, I thought of a tabletop with heating elements underneath and motion sensors on top.
The motion sensors would detect cold parts of the arm and selectively heat body parts in quantities proportional to how cold they were. In this instance the user’s hand is colder than their forearm.
My classmates had lots of different questions and critiques for me that I hadn’t considered or had dismissed as irrelevant earlier. Some of the most notable concerns I heard were:
- Awkwardness and possible discomfort (drying of skin) of a heat fan following around the face of the user
- How exactly the heating element would be applied to the table, some users wanted to retain the wood tabletop
- Some users felt cold in their legs and feet, not in their hands, forearms, or head
- How the app would heat body parts instead of design supplies, possibility of damaging design supplies
I worked through most but not all of the issues I was alerted to through feedback. My solutions, illustrated and diagramed below were:
- For the heating of the head, I didn’t arrive at a solution I was comfortable with. I experimented with an even more awkward device in which a series of heating strips would form a “helmet” of heat around your head and track your movement. The feeling would be akin to the matrix in which a user’s head would become completely immersed with heat and connected to their seat.
- In defining how the heating elements would be implemented, I settled on the idea of a rigid heating element that could be slid in and out of tables. The heating element would be half an inch below the wood in order to prevent accidental cutting of the element as well as preserve the wooden feel of the desktop.
- In addition to a slit being cut in the desk, a space underneath the floor could contain another heating element that could track the movement of feet. After further researching body heat, I believe that heating the soles of users’ feet (which are very sensitive to heat) will fool the body into thinking that their legs are warm too.
- Finally, in order to give more user control I reasoned that an app could be used to control temperature of the heating element, determine which areas to heat or not, and calibrate the heating element to track certain body parts. This app could coincide with IFTTT in that a preset temperature for the heating element could be set based on the current weather conditions.
For my demonstration I used the “Wizard of Oz”ing technique in which I added effects to a video. This demo shows the specific heat tracking technology in use. Only the user’s right hand has been calibrated to be heated, thus the rest of the desk or user’s body isn’t heated.
I wanted to improve studio by catering individually to each user’s heating needs in order to save energy.